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Baltimore’s 1901 South Charles Wins USGBC Wintergreen Award

24 Mar 2014, 2:09 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Owings Mills-based Chesapeake Realty Partners has seen its efforts to create an environmentally friendly building recognized. The 1901 South Charles apartments, one of Chesapeake’s newest apartment communities, has been awarded the United States Green Building Council Maryland 2013 Wintergreen Award for Excellence in Green Building.

Located in the city’s Federal Hill neighborhood, 1901 South Charles features 193 high-end studio, one- and two-bedroom apartment units. The apartments feature hardwood floors, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, Energy Star rated units and appliances, and more. Community amenities include a 5,000-square-foot Resident’s Club with Wi-Fi, state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga/Wii room, individual club style package lockers, and courtyard.

Chesapeake started work on the building in 2011, investing $32 million. 1901 South Charles opened to tenants in 2012, with a LEED Silver certification. But this wasn’t enough for the developers. Their efforts to create an energy- and cost-efficient building paid off a year later, in 2013, when the USGBC awarded 1901 South Charles LEED Gold certification. The apartment building became the first wood-framed residential rental community in Baltimore to achieve this distinction.

“It’s amazing to see the diversity of people in support of, and actively working towards, a healthy and sustainable built environment,” USGBC Maryland’s Executive Director, Mary Pulcinella, said in a statement for the press. “Wintergreen is a unique opportunity to bring all of these people together to recognize why Maryland is an exemplary state for green building practices.”

USGBC Maryland’s annual Wintergreen awards program celebrates excellence in green building. It honors outstanding achievements in sustainable design and construction in the state of Maryland. The 9th Annual Wintergreen Awards for Excellence in Green Building were held this February. The USGBC presented 14 awards.

Governor Martin O’Malley won the Leader Award for his work to make Maryland a greener and healthier place to live. In addition to 1901 South Charles, the list of winning projects also includes Roger Carter Recreation Community Center, Foxcroft School-Stuart Hall, The Greens at Irvington Mews, the Fallsway Housing and Service Center, the Southeast CDC Neighborhood Reinvestment Center, the Howard Community College Health Sciences Building, Ducketts Lane Elementary School and Union Wharf.

Photo credits: www.1901southcharles.com



Woody Harrelson Buys Baltimore’s Inn at the Black Olive

16 Mar 2014, 4:45 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Woody Harrelson is an Emmy Award winner and Oscar nominee. You may know him for his work in ”Cheers,” ”White Men Can’t Jump”, ”Natural Born Killers,” ”The People vs. Larry Flynt,” ”No Country for Old Men,” ”Now You See Me” or ”The Hunger Games.” You may also know him as an environmental and anti-war activist, as PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian in 2012, or as a supporter of the legalization of marijuana in the United States. What you may not know about this famous Hollywood actor is that he is now the owner of a Baltimore hotel.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the actor, together with John “Jack” Dwyer, founder of Capital Funding Group Inc., acquired the Inn at the Black Olive in Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood. The property was purchased in January, for $4.5 million.

The Spiliadis family opened the Inn at the Black Olive in 2011, along Baltimore’s historic waterfront. But they lost it to foreclosure last summer. First Mariner Bank repossessed the property at auction for $3.9 million.

The eco-friendly boutique hotel has 12 large rooms. According to its website, it was constructed using organic building materials, each room has organic bedding and organic towels, and the ingredients used to prepare the meals are, of course, organic.  

It is this feature that attracted Woody Harrelson most. The actor is a well-known vegan. He stayed at the hotel for seven weeks, in 2011, during the filming of HBO’s ”Game Change.” Harrelson enjoyed his stay so much that, when he heard about the hotel’s problems, he immediately offered his help.

Dimitris Spiliadis brought Woody Harrelson and Jack Dwyer together. The local businessman is also a fan of healty living. He became familiar with the Spiliadis family through the health food and “green drinks” they provided for Dwyer’s Bare Hills Racquet and Fitness Club. Dwyer, who invested his own money, not his company’s, and Harrelson will each own half of the Inn at the Black Olive. The Spiliadis family will lease the hotel from the new ownership group and will continue to operate it on the same path, trying to capitalize on the health-conscious green market. The Inn at the Black Olive has three and a half stars on TripAdvisor.

Woody Harrelson currently co-stars in HBO’s crime drama ”True Detective,” alongside Matthew McConaughey, who recently won the Academy Award for Best Actor. He has been spotted in Baltimore several times in the past few years. Now that he owns a hotel here, maybe he’ll visit the city even more.

Photo credits: Steve Rogers
Photo of the Inn at the Black Olive courtesy of The Inn at the Black Olive Facebook.


Office Tower In Baltimore’s CBD Is Now For Sale

10 Mar 2014, 3:50 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A Baltimore skyscraper located right in the heart of the city’s Central Business District is looking for new owners. The 22-story building at 2 Hopkins Plaza is up for sale. Transwestern is marketing the Class B office tower together with the three-story pavilion building at 10 Hopkins Plaza.

The properties are part of a two-building complex constructed in 1970, by British American Properties, Inc., a defunct UK company. It offers 404,088 square feet of space and was once home to important companies such as Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust, IBM, Venable or PNC Bank. But in the last few years, it started to lose tenants.

Venable, which occupied 123,374 square feet on eight floors at 2 Hopkins Plaza, left in April 2011. It was followed by PNC Bank, which occupied 202,052 square feet of space in the 378,798-square-foot tower, in September 2012. Although it has already moved to its new location at 1 E. Pratt Street, PNC Bank still holds a lease for space at 2 Hopkins Plaza. It will expire this December. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan occupies about half of the space in the pavilion building at 10 Hopkins Plaza.

Transwestern said that more than $10 million in capital improvements have gone into the office tower over the past decade. Its elevators were modernized in 2012 and the building is also looking to obtain an ENERGY STAR certificate.

Two Hopkins Plaza has one of the largest floor plates in the city. It also enjoys a great location, close to shops, businesses and public transportation, and sits on an underground parking garage with 317 spaces. According to Transwestern, it would be ideal for an apartment conversion.

Offers for the two-building complex are due by April 1. Transwestern did not announce an asking price.

Photo credits: Transwestern



Greenberg Gibbons and Vanguard to Finally Break Ground This Year on $140M Foundry Row Project in Owings Mills

3 Mar 2014, 4:16 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

 

In 2012, Greenberg Gibbons and Vanguard Commercial Property Development announced their plans to start work on the $140 million Foundry Row development in Owings Mills. They immediately encountered opposition from neighboring developers, also working on important projects in the area. And, after years of fighting, they finally won.

Recently, the Baltimore County Board of Appeals upheld the Administrative Law Judge’s decision to approve the site development plan for Foundry Row, thus rejecting all of the opposition’s claims. With this important hurdle out of the way, Greenberg Gibbons and Vanguard can now submit their permit applications. Construction could start later this year.

“We are pleased with the Board’s decision and commend the elected officials and community groups who have been steadfast in their support of this project,” Brian Gibbons, chairman and CEO of Greenberg Gibbons, said in a statement for the press. “We look forward to turning our attention to the construction phase of Foundry Row and getting one step closer to bringing Wegmans to Owings Mills.”

Foundry Row is a mixed-use development located on 52 acres of land near the intersection of Reisterstown and Painters Mill roads. The center will be anchored by a state-of-the-art, 130,000-square-foot Wegmans grocery store. It will also feature 365,000 square feet of retail space, a national fitness anchor, a sporting goods anchor, upscale shops and restaurants, as well as 60,000 square feet of Class A office space.

“We are thrilled that plans for Foundry Row continue to make positive headway,” said Ralph Uttaro, senior vice president of real estate and development of Wegmans Food Market. “We remain totally committed to Owings Mills and look forward to opening our store at Foundry Row.”

Greenberg Gibbons said in a news release that the construction phase of the $140 million project will support 2,300 full- and part-time jobs in Baltimore County, as well as $264 million in sales of goods and services from county businesses. Foundry Row is expected to open in 2015. It will create 3,100 jobs and bring an estimate of $4.8 million in annual fiscal benefits for Baltimore County. The state of Maryland also stands to receive $8.2 million each year in tax receipts as a result of the project’s operations at full build-out.

Photo credits: Greenberg Gibbons



Modus Hotels Relaunches Brookshire Suites in Baltimore

24 Feb 2014, 3:22 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

At the end of 2012, Modus Hotels announced the purchase of the Brookshire Suites in Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor. The Washington, D.C.-based full service hotel development and management company paid $7.85 million for the property, according to PropertyShark. In the weeks that followed the announcement, it started work on a multi-million dollar renovation project, to breathe new life into the old building, originally constructed in 1958.

The project was finished a little over a year later, delivering a modern lifestyle hotel to downtown Baltimore. Modus Hotels relaunched the newly designed Brookshire Suites in February 2014, with a new lounge, new suites, and a new look. Seattle-based designers, Dawson Design Associates revamped the interiors of the property.

The Brookshire Suites is located at 120 East Lombard Street, close to such popular attractions as the National Aquarium, the Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore Orioles’ Stadium, Camden Yards and the Baltimore Ravens M&T Bank Stadium. It offers 97 studio and one-bedroom suites, with oversized desks, mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, large windows and much more. The hotel also includes 2,000 square feet of event space, a RedBAR in the lobby and street art by Baltimore Love Project artist, Michael Owen.

Marcus & Millichap sees 2014 as an uncertain year for the hotel market in the Mid-Atlantic region. Maryland, as well as the neighboring states of Virginia and West Virginia, registered a decline in occupancy in 2013, due to the loss of government-related room demand and reduced spending by households affected by government and private-sector furloughs and layoffs. However, the hotel market performed decently in D.C. and Delaware, where occupancy was greater than in 2012. This, together with the new federal budget that restores some spending, raises hopes that performance will improve in the months ahead.

Photo credits: www.brookshiresuites.com
Charts courtesy of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.


Arundel Village Plaza Shopping Center Sold for $6.5M

17 Feb 2014, 5:34 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

An Anne Arundel county shopping center changed hands recently when BTR Capital Group sold the Arundel Village Plaza Shopping Center to Oak Tree Management for $6.5 million. The Greysteel Company, a real estate investment services firm based in Washington D.C., served as exclusive advisor and agent.

The Arundel Village Plaza Shopping Center is located at 5501-5517 Ritchie Highway/Route 2 in Brooklyn Park, just minutes from the Port of Baltimore. It offers 54,480 square feet of retail space. Greysteel said in a press statement that the shopping center was 88 percent leased to 11 tenants at the time of the sale. The tenant roster includes Taco Bell/Long John Silver’s, Domino’s Pizza, Valvoline Instant Oil Change and the State of Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. According to Greysteel, there are 82,000 residents within a three mile radius of the shopping center, and approximately 204,000 residents within a five mile radius.

Gil Neuman, managing director of the Greysteel Company’s mid-Atlantic retail investment sales division, represented the seller and procured the buyer.

CBRE reports that the Baltimore retail market performed well throughout the fourth quarter of 2013 despite the 16-day government shutdown. The federal government’s two-year budget deal is expected to bring stability to the region, and, as the area’s job market strengthens, so will consumer confidence.

The Baltimore area’s overall retail vacancy rate increased over the quarter to 6.5 percent, but so did the overall rental rate. In Q4 2013, the average rent reached $21.48 per square foot.

Photo credits: Google Maps
Charts courtesy of CBRE.


Resmark and Timberlake Homes Constructing Creekstone Village Townhome Community in Anne Arundel County

7 Feb 2014, 3:37 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

A new, single-family townhome community is coming to Anne Arundel County. Resmark Land and Housing, a division of The Los Angeles-based Resmark Companies, and Timberlake Homes announced at the end of January that construction is underway on Creekstone Village in Pasadena. The project is expected to be completed in 36 months.

The community is located at 8029 Jumpers Hole Road, adjacent to routes 100 and 2, and just minutes from downtown Baltimore. It will consist of 89 colonial-style townhomes, each standing three stories tall, with elegant brick exteriors. The townhomes will range from 1,720 to 2,636 square feet. They will feature three bedrooms, two full baths and one half bath, as well as one- or two-car garages.

“Resmark’s investment with Timberlake Homes for the development of Creekstone Village reflects the growing demand for housing in the Baltimore–D.C. area,” stated R. Kent Grahl, president, Resmark Land and Housing. “Timberlake’s depth of experience and strong reputation in the area are the ideal match for the project’s quality location near major employers, Annapolis and the Beltway.”

Community amenities include a clubhouse with business center, resort-style outdoor pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, a children’s play area and dog park. Although close to two major highways, Creekstone Village will be well buffered by heavily treed landscaping. Residents will be close to many shopping and restaurant options as well as major employers. Located just a few miles from Creekstone Village, Fort Meade is expected to provide over 5,000 new jobs in the next few years.

“Creekstone Village is an ideal project for this community, which is undergoing a renaissance in terms of job growth and housing,” said John H. Minzer, president and CEO, Timberlake Homes.  “We are extremely proud and grateful to have provided new homes for thousands of area homebuyers in the course of almost 50 years, and in partnership with Resmark, we’re looking forward to delivering this premier new project for the next generation of home buyers.”

Photos courtesy of Casey & Sayre.



Blue Ocean Realty Buys 720-Unit Millbrook Park Apartments in Pikesville

4 Feb 2014, 2:44 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Seven hundred twenty apartments; 73 buildings; 40 acres of land. Put them all together and you get the Millbrook Park Apartments in Pikesville. Blue Ocean Realty, one of the largest owner-managed investment companies in the Baltimore metropolitan area, recently purchased this massive complex.

The Millbrook Park Apartments are located at 6808 Milbrook Park Drive. It consists of spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment homes, and offers five different floor plans. The apartments feature fully equipped kitchens, parquet wood flooring, patios, balconies, and much more. Millbrook Park Apartments also includes such amenities as a large swimming pool, soccer field, playground and an onsite shuttle bus service which provides access to local retail centers. On its website, Blue Ocean Realty says apartments in the complex rent between $700 and $1,000 per month.

In an apartment market outlook for the Baltimore area, Marcus & Millichap reports that operations will strengthen in 2014, as the market absorbs last year’s construction surge. This year’s accelerating job growth is expected to boost net absorption of apartments across the metro, with Baltimore’s growing 20- to 34-year-old population further supporting demand. Residents in this age range are generally considered the prime renter demographic. Their numbers within the Greater Baltimore area have increased over the past five years, growing at double the pace of the national average.

Marcus & Millichap predicts that demand will outpace construction, pushing vacancy to 4.5 percent by the end of the year. Rents are also expected to advance 3.1 percent in 2014, to $1,229 per month.

Blue Ocean Realty announced the acquisition of the Millbrook Park Apartments on its facebook page, on January 24, but did not disclose the price of the transaction. To date, the 720-unit property is the largest community to join the company’s portfolio. In recent months, several Baltimore area multifamily properties with hundreds of units have changed hands. Read about all of these transactions here and here.

Photo credits: Blue Ocean Realty
Charts courtesy of Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.


Joint Venture to Convert Vacant Baltimore Warehouse into Luxury Historic Lofts

24 Jan 2014, 6:58 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The Raffel Building, a historic building currently sitting vacant in one of Baltimore’s most desirable neighborhoods, is on its way to becoming upscale apartments. Two local companies, Poverni Ventures LLC and Management Restoration Services LLC, have formed a joint venture to redevelop the abandoned warehouse at 111 W. Heath Street and turn it into the Heath Street Lofts.

The Raffel Building consists of two interconnected buildings. It was constructed at the start of the 20th century, at the intersection of Heath and Clarkson Street, in Federal Hill. Once, the warehouse complex was home to the J.M. Raffel Co., a cardboard box manufacturer. Now, it just sits vacant. In recent years, the Raffel Building attracted interest from many developers.

“This building has a rich history of development that never materialized, and it is finally time to put it back to serve the South Baltimore community,” said Eugene Poverni, principal and founder of Poverni Ventures, in a press statement.

Poverni Ventures LLC is a real estate development company, while Management Restoration Services LLC is a property management company. The two acquired the 70,000-square-foot historic building last month, for $1.05 million. They plan to convert it into a luxury 60-unit apartment community for young professionals, students, or frequent commuters to Washington, D.C. via Interstate-95.

The new Heath Street Lofts will include such Class A amenities as an on-site parking, gym, leasable storage units, a 24-hour front desk, and an oversized rooftop deck and event space with panoramic views of the city. The Urban Design Group is the project’s architect and is designing the new community to achieve LEED Silver certification.

“Revitalizing this great industrial building will provide unique, modern, and luxurious housing for our residents while maintaining its historic charm,” Ibrahim Sheikh, principal of Management Restoration Services, said. The developers plan to start construction this spring. The project is expected to be completed in late 2015.

Photo credits: Urban Design Group



JBG, Klein Enterprises Unveil State-of-the-Art Social Security Administration Complex at 6100 Wabash Avenue

17 Jan 2014, 3:29 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

The JBG Companies and Klein Enterprises have unveiled 6100 Wabash Avenue, a state-of-the-art, twin-building facility for the Social Security Administration. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Congressman Elijah Cummings were among the officials and community leaders present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The new Social Security Administration complex is located on 11 acres in northwest Baltimore, directly opposite the Reisterstown Metro Station. It offers 538,000 square feet in two office buildings, five and seven stories tall. Amenities include an adjacent, 1,076-car, above-ground parking garage and child care center. The facility was designed to achieve LEED Silver certification. It features an array of environmentally friendly elements such as a green roof and a large park area.

Work on the project started in January 2012. JBG owns the property in partnership with Klein Enterprises. It was designed by AECOM, with Clark Construction as the general contractor.

GSA has leased this facility for a 20-year term. It will be home to up to 2,300 employees of the Social Security Administration and will replace the agency’s Metro West facility.

“The opening of 6100 Wabash represents not just a fresh start for the Social Security Administration, but a catalyst for future development and job creation in the area,” Congressman Elijah Cummings said in a press statement.

“With its proximity to Reisterstown Metro, this new facility demonstrates the importance of expanding transit-oriented development in Baltimore,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake added. “When federal, state and local agencies embrace transit-oriented development, such projects directly improve the lives of thousands of Baltimore commuters.”

As part of Maryland’s transit-oriented development (TOD) strategy, the new facility’s location near public transport is expected to attract new development, to build on the value of existing businesses and residential neighborhoods, and, in the end, to transform the surrounding area. The goal is to create a vibrant community where residents want to live, work and play.

“We are proud to begin 2014 by providing GSA and the Social Security Administration a transit-oriented, environmentally sound workplace fit for the 21st century,” said Rod Lawrence, a partner with The JBG Companies. “JBG’s strategy is to concentrate new, sustainable development close to Metro and other transit options. It has been a pleasure to work with the City of Baltimore to develop this new state-of-the-art facility.”

Photo credits: AECOM



Transwestern Hired to Sell Two Apartment Communities in Anne Arundel County

10 Jan 2014, 5:26 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Two apartment communities in Anne Arundel County are now on the market. Together, they offer over 450 units. Transwestern’s Bethesda, Md.-based Mid-Atlantic Multifamily Group  has been named exclusive agent for the sale of both properties.

Shelter Cove is the largest of the two properties, with 300 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Community amenities include assigned parking, swimming pool, playground, 24-hour fitness center, clubhouse and more. Another important feature is the community’s location, at 537 Tranquil Court, in Odenton. Positioned right in the heart of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. Corridor, Shelter Cove offers easy access to some of the largest employment drivers in the region: the Arundel Mills Mall, Maryland Live! Casino, the BWI Airport, and Fort Meade, the largest employer in the State of Maryland with more than 56,000 workers and home to the National Security Agency and the US Cyber Command.

Shelter Cove was constructed in 1974 and was renovated in 2013. According to Transwestern, as of December 2013, 96-units have been or are in the process of being renovated, with an additional four units scheduled to be renovated this month. These units are being awarded a premium of $200 to $250 per month which provides investors the opportunity to complete the remaining units and increase rental revenue by approximately $500,000 per year.

The average rent at Shelter Cove is $1,338 per month. According to the 2013 Third Quarter Apartment Report, published by Transwestern’s research affiliate, Delta Associates, the average effective rent in Northern Anne Arundel County is $1,638 per month. Vacancy is at 2.7 percent.

Forest Hills, the second property, is located at 4 Bricin Court, just minutes from downtown Annapolis. The apartment community was constructed in 1965 and renovated in 2008. It consists of 153 one- ,two- , and three-bedroom units. Community amenities include a swimming pool with sundeck, picnic area, beautifully landscaped grounds and more. The property enjoys an excellent location, along the Forest Drive Corridor, and is close to the two largest employers in Annapolis, the U.S. Naval Academy and the Maryland State House.

Transwestern reports that, as of December 16, 2013, Forest Hills was 97.4 percent occupied, with an average rent of $1,363 per month. In Annapolis, the average rent is approximately $1,800 per month.

Photo credits: Transwestern



L3C Capital Partners Selects Village Green to Manage The Munsey in Downtown Baltimore

26 Dec 2013, 7:42 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Baltimore’s Munsey Building was recently acquired by L3C Capital Partners LLC. According to The Baltimore Business Journal, the New York-based investment company paid $18.35 million for the building. Now, the new owner has selected Village Green, a Detroit-based apartment manager and owner, to manage the historic community.

The Munsey Building has been present in the heart of downtown Baltimore since 1912. Over the  years, the building housed the Baltimore News, Baltimore’s first radio station and later the Equitable Trust Company. It is located at 7 North Calvert Street, close to the Inner Harbor and various other entertainment, culture, dining and shopping destinations, as well as the headquarters of many large companies.

In 2002, the 18-story building was transformed into a 146-apartment multifamily community. Now, the Munsey offers studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, ranging in size from 668 square feet to 1,705 square feet. Rents are between $1,390 and $1,920 per month. Units feature 12’ ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, high-end finishes, and spacious floor plans. Community amenities include a 24-hour professional fitness center, clubroom with lounge, gourmet kitchen, dry cleaning services and valet parking.

“We are thrilled with our acquisition of The Munsey, a grand and historic building in a premiere Baltimore location,” Jonathan Leifer, principal, L3C Capital Partners, said in a press statement. The new owners plan to renovate the apartments and amenity spaces in the coming months.

“We’re thrilled to have been entrusted with the management and oversight of this extraordinary asset, which represents our continuing partnership with L3C Capital Partners,” Diane Batayeh, COO of Village Green, added. “The Munsey is located in a growing and dynamic market, and we know Baltimore is a fantastic place to live, work and play.”

Photo credit: Village Green



T. Rowe Price Renews Lease at 100 East Pratt Street, Keeps 1,300 Jobs in Downtown Baltimore

20 Dec 2013, 7:45 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Good news for downtown Baltimore. After several months of uncertainty, T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. announced it has renewed its lease at 100 East Pratt Street and that it won’t be moving its headquarters to a different location. This means the company’s nearly 1,300 employees will be staying put.

T. Rowe Price Group has had its headquarters at 100 East Pratt Street since 1975. But this April, the company announced it was considering moving its operations to Owings Mills or to another Baltimore site such as Harbor Point. In the end, it decided to remain at its current location. In a news release, T. Rowe Price said the decision to stay put was based on several factors such as the building’s ability to continue meeting the company’s needs, the proximity to downtown amenities, traffic and commuting patterns of associates who work downtown, as well as the easy access to Penn Station and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

The company occupies 427,000 square feet at 100 East Pratt Street, including office space and the T. Rowe Price Investor Center on the northeast corner of Calvert and Lombard streets. The current lease with property owner Columbia Property Trust expires on June 30, 2017. The renewal means T. Rowe Price could remain in downtown Baltimore until 2027.

”Signing this letter of intent signals our ongoing commitment to downtown and the City of Baltimore, which has been our home since our founding in 1937,” said James A.C. Kennedy, chief executive officer and president of T. Rowe Price, in a press statement. “We’re proud of our city, and on behalf of our associates we’re pleased to be able to continue our presence here for years to come.”

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, “We are thrilled that T. Rowe Price plans to keep its global headquarters in the City of Baltimore.” And, according to Kirby Fowler, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, “the commitment of T. Rowe Price to maintain their corporate headquarters in downtown Baltimore will have a ripple effect throughout our community. Downtown is home to the region’s best and brightest, and T. Rowe Price’s decision to remain here sends a powerful message in that regard and ensures that we can continue to prosper from the jobs they create and support.”

The renewal keeps 427,000 square feet of office space from being added to a market with an overall vacancy of 16.5 percent. According to CBRE, renewal activity increased in Q3 2013 in Baltimore’s CBD. The real estate services firm sees the Pratt Street Corridor as one of the more robust areas in downtown Baltimore for tenants who can’t relocate to Harbor East but want to remain in the city.

Photo credits: Google Maps.
Charts courtesy of CBRE.


Joint Venture Acquires Baltimore Area 500-Unit Multifamily Portfolio

13 Dec 2013, 4:51 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Two weeks ago I wrote about two Howard County communities, totaling 348 units, which traded for almost $68 million. Now, two more garden-style apartment communities and a high-rise apartment building in the Greater Baltimore area are welcoming new owners.

The three properties are part of the Windsor Mill Portfolio. With a total of 500 units, the portfolio was acquired by Morgan Properties, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and its equity partner Core Properties, of Columbus, Ohio. Jones Lang LaSalle represented the seller. The price of the transaction was not disclosed.

The Windsor Mill Portfolio consists of townhomes, garden-style apartments and a high-rise residential building. The three properties are all located within a one-mile radius, just outside the Baltimore Beltway, in Windsor Mill. The two apartment communities were built in 1965 and 1972, while the apartment building was constructed in 1969. They offer easy access to highways and include such amenities as swimming pools and picnic areas. The spacious apartments feature walk-in closets, individually controlled HVAC units, and in-unit washers and dryers.

Mitchell Morgan, founder and CEO of Morgan Properties, said in a press release that “Windsor Mill is an exciting acquisition for our company. After the recent success of our acquisition and repositioning of Northwest Crossing with our partner Core Properties, we and Core felt that Windsor Mill was the perfect opportunity to continue to expand our market presence. Given our local market knowledge and operational expertise, Morgan Properties is the right operator to efficiently manage and enhance the value of the properties.”

The two companies plan to invest and upgrade the newly acquired properties. The Windsor Mill Portfolio is the joint venture’s second acquisition. Last year, it purchased Northwest Crossing, a 588-unit garden-style apartment community located in Randallstown, not too far from the Windsor Mill Portfolio. In May, Morgan Properties announced plans to implement a $10 million capital improvement program to reinvigorate Northwest Crossing.

 

Photo credits: Morgan Properties



InterPark Completes the Purchase of 300 E. Pratt, Starts Hunt for Development Partner for the Site

9 Dec 2013, 4:08 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

InterPark, LLC, the largest owner, operator and developer of parking facilities in North America, has completed its purchase of 300 E. Pratt in Baltimore’s Central Business District. The Chicago–based company plans to develop the site, considered the best remaining developable parcel of open land in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, into a mixed-use project and has hired Cushman & Wakefield to identify a development partner.

The sale was announced in August. InterPark acquired the property from UrbanAmerica Advisors, LLC for an undisclosed price. The Inner Harbor has been the site of extensive redevelopment in recent years and 300 E. Pratt Street has been designated as part of an Enterprise Zone with probable tax credits and incentives for developers. InterPark has hired St. Louis-based Forum Studio to complete several design concepts for the site. The future of 300 E. Pratt could include a hotel, residences, offices, shops or parking, all in a great location, close to government offices, businesses and tourist attractions. The site could also be the home of a landmark property that could enhance existing development in the area.

“The 300 E. Pratt site provides an incredible opportunity for the right development partner to create a signature mixed use facility in one of Baltimore’s most prominent locations,” said J. Marshall Peck, president of InterPark, in a press statement. “With Cushman & Wakefield’s extensive knowledge of the Baltimore real estate market, we’ve assembled an impressive team to select the right development partner to transform the site into a premier property fitting of Baltimore’s terrific waterfront.”

InterPark has successfully developed parking with mixed-use facilities in central business districts all over the United States. Some of its notable projects include the mixed use building at Ontario Street & St. Clair Street, and an innovative development deal at 217 W. Washington Street, both in Chicago, as well as the development of an integrated parking garage on the Thomas Jefferson Hospital campus in Philadelphia.

Photo credits: Cushman & Wakefield 



Two Howard County Apartment Communities Sold for $68M

2 Dec 2013, 7:23 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Two apartment communities in Howard County have recently changed hands, with an aggregate sales price of about $68 million. Together, Elkridge’s Belmont Station and Laurel’s Ashbury Court Apartments offer 348 units.

Los Angeles-based JRK Investors, Inc. paid $44.1 million for Belmont Station, a Class A garden apartment community located at 6900 Tasker Falls  in Elkridge. The property was constructed in 2008 and offers 208 units. Amenities include a 6,500-square-foot clubhouse, pool, and fitness center. Belmont Station is located close to Fort Meade, the BWI Airport, with easy access to both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Bethesda-based First Capital Realty, the brokerage firm which handled the deal, says on its website that, since 2010, the property has had an average occupancy of 97 percent.

First Capital Realty’s Jeff Fabrikant represented the seller, while Jeff Coles, also of First Capital Realty, represented JRK Investors. The Los Angeles-based investment group plans to renovate the common areas and upgrade the apartments, to make the property more competitive. Belmont Station isn’t JRK’s first acquisition in the Greater Baltimore area. The firm purchased Columbia’s  Avalon at Cedar Place apartments this October. JRK paid $26 million for the 156-unit property.

The Baltimore Business Journal recently reported that Bethesda-based Goldstar Group has paid $23.6 million for the Ashbury Court Apartments. The property is located at 10095 Washington Boulevard North, in the Howard County section of Laurel. It offers 140 high-end units as well as 32,000 square feet of first-floor retail.

MAC Realty Advisors was the exclusive agent and represented the seller, Patriot Realty. The deal also includes an option to build a second phase of residential.

According to a Transwestern Q3 2013 Apartment Market Report for the Washington/Baltimore area, vacancy in Baltimore’s southern submarkets has dropped from 4.9% last year to 4.5%, while in the northern submarkets it went up to 5.3% from 4.3% in 2012. Average effective rents in the area have reached $1,607, a slight 1.5% increase since last year.

Photo credits: MAC Realty Advisors
Charts courtesy of Transwestern


$24M Angelos Medical Pavilion Opens on the Saint Agnes Hospital Campus in Baltimore

25 Nov 2013, 5:47 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

NexCore Group LP announced it has completed a new outpatient facility on the campus of Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore. The project is part of the hospital’s recently completed $200 million revitalization and expansion plan.

The new facility is called the Angelos Medical Pavilion and is located at 3407 Wilkens Avenue. It has four levels and offers 85,800 square feet of space. NexCore started work on the project in October 2011. The building was designed by RTKL. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. was the project’s construction manager. NexCore owns the building. The Denver-based healthcare real estate developer will also provide leasing and management services.

With a price tag of $24 million, the new outpatient facility is the first medical office development on the Saint Agnes campus in over 20 years. It is directly connected to the hospital on two levels and will house physician office space, hospital clinic space, and two famous hospital programs, the Saint Agnes Cancer Institute and Saint Agnes Cardiovascular Institute.

William Greskovich, vice president of operations and capital projects at Saint Agnes, called the Angelos Medical Pavilion ”an efficient and appealing outpatient facility.” He said the facility is ”an integral part of the Saint Agnes campus” and that it ”will help us to remain competitive and current in the new regulatory environment.” Saint Agnes Hospital’s $200 million campus expansion created 550,000 square feet of facilities and patient-friendly environments to better serve the hospital’s growing patient base.

“The Angelos Medical Pavilion illustrates a growing trend in which hospitals are moving many of their key services into new outpatient facilities,” said Jarrod Daddis, executive managing director at NexCore, in a press statement. “Customized outpatient facilities that are designed around innovative models of care make for a more streamlined and positive patient experience.” Daddis also said the Angelos Medical Pavilion model has been very successful, and that only two physician office suites, about 6,300 square feet, remain unoccupied in the building.

Photo credits: RTKL



St. John Properties and Somerset Construction Select Elm Street Development to Build 2,000 Homes at Baltimore Crossroads

19 Nov 2013, 2:26 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Earlier this year, St. John Properties, Inc. and the Somerset Construction Company unveiled conceptual plans for the $100 million Greenleigh at Crossroads mixed-use development in Eastern Baltimore County, the next phase of Baltimore Crossroads. Now, the joint venture has selected Elm Street Development as the residential development partner for the project.

Greenleigh at Crossroads is a 200-acre development expected to deliver a mixture of mid-rise Class “A” commercial office buildings, retail amenities and housing options. It was designed by the planning and urban design firm Design Collective, Inc., and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz called it a town center ”unlike anything else in Baltimore County.” The residential portion of the project includes a mix of single family homes, townhomes, apartments and condos. Construction on the first 2,000 residential units is expected to start in summer 2014.

Both Edward St. John, chairman of St. John Properties, and Mike Caruthers, principal of Somerset Construction, praised Elm Street Development, with Edward St. John calling the McLean, Virginia-based company ”the perfect partner” for the joint venture.

“Eastern Baltimore County residents are ready for an elevated residential product mix that complements the existing luxury apartment community, and we are extremely confident that Elm Street Development can execute our vision for Greenleigh at Crossroads,” Caruthers added in a statement for the press. “This next critical phase of Baltimore Crossroads represents a multi-year program, and Elm Street has demonstrated its understanding of the marketplace, as well as its ability to create distinguished and marketable residential communities.”

Greenleigh at Crossroads is part of the 1,000-acre Baltimore Crossroads mixed-use business community on Maryland Route 43, in White Marsh, about 10 miles from downtown Baltimore. Since 2007, St. John Properties has developed almost 1.2 million square feet of space there. This includes 16 buildings with 500,000 square feet of commercial office, R&D, and retail space. Approximately 3,000 employees currently work in the business community and St. John expects 10,000 people to be employed there when the project is finished. Baltimore Crossroads is designed to support over five million square feet of office, R&D/flex, warehouse and industrial space, 450,000 square feet of retail space, and two hotels.

Photo credits: St. John Properties, Inc.



101 Ellwood Modern Apartments & Lofts Opens its Doors to First Residents

10 Nov 2013, 8:16 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

Baltimore’s Highlandtown Middle School was designed by architects Wyatt and Nolting and is considered one of the most important historical and architectural buildings in the area. The seven-story building opened in 1934 and operated until 2005. Last year, Shaffin Jetta and Focus Development, Inc., his company, started a $27 million redevelopment project to convert the old school into luxury apartments.

101 Ellwood Modern Apartments & Lofts is located at 101 S. Ellwood Avenue, in the Baltimore-Linwood neighborhood and close to both the 138-acre Patterson Park and Canton Square. It offers 140 studios, one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments as well as a list of unique amenities such as a zen courtyard, rooftop deck, fitness center with yoga room, dog washing station, and an attached parking garage with 146 spaces. Each unit features floor-to-ceiling windows, high ceilings, hardwood floors, ceramic tile, granite counters, solid wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and full-size washers/dryers. 101 Ellwood was designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.

The first residents of 101 Ellwood Modern Apartments & Lofts moved into their new luxury apartment and loft homes on November 1. According to the community’s website, apartments range between 550 square feet and 1,155 square feet, with rents between $1,225 and $2,250 per month. Pierce Eislen, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based technology company providing online market research services to the commercial apartment industry, reports that rents for one-bedroom units in the Baltimore area, in fall 2013, ranged between $494 and $2,701 per month, with the average rent at $1,011 per month. Rents for two-bedroom units ranged between $760 and $4,549 per month, with the average rent at $1,431 per month.

“I think we’re the right product for the marketplace. There is nothing in our price point that is anywhere close to our quality,” Focus Development LLC principal Shaffin Jetha said in a press statement.

Photo credits: http://101ellwood.prospectportal.com/



FCC Environmental to Start Work on $50M Used Oil Recycling Facility in Baltimore in Q2 2014

2 Nov 2013, 8:18 pm

By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor

FCC Environmental, a Houston-based service provider of waste oil collection and processing, announced it will break ground on a used motor oil recycling facility in Baltimore, in the second quarter of 2014.

Work on the project started in February 2012, with the preliminary layout of the facility, topographical surveys and soil borings. The construction of the facility was scheduled to begin in fall 2012, following the issuance of environmental and construction permits. However, FCC Environmental only recently received an air permit to construct from the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The Houston-based company now plans to start construction in the first months of 2014. The facility is expected to cost $50 million. It will be located on a six-acre parcel of land on the former Chevron Asphalt Terminal in Fairfield, an under-utilized brownfield site south of the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (1-895).

The state-of-the-art facility is expected to cost $50 million and to open in the second quarter of 2015. When fully operational, it is expected to process almost 40 million gallons of used motor oil each year. Approximately 1.2 billion gallons of used motor oil are collected in the U.S. annually. The Baltimore plant will recycle the used motor oil back into Group II and II+ base oils that will be sold and transported off-site via trucks and rail to be processed into passenger car motor oils, heavy duty engine oils, transmission fluids and other lubricating products.

“The environmental systems associated with the recycling facility will be comprised of the best technology available, as one would expect, to control the air emissions,” said Ken Cherry, executive vice president and general manager of FCC Environmental, in a press statement. “We believe these emission controls will become the model for future similar plants.”

The project is expected to create 100 construction jobs. The facility will employ 30 full-time workers. Many of these positions will be classified as ”green.”

FCC Environmental is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas. The Madrid, Spain-based company is one of the largest environmental service providers in the world, with more than 90,000 employees operating in over 50 countries.

Photo credits: FCC Environmental







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